Microsoft Word Is Like Gum In Your Blog's Hair
Formatting issues will persist in your blog if you continue to copy and paste from Microsoft Word.
Everyday we come across 'broken blogs'. The reason the blog 'broke' is always the same: Microsoft Word was used to compose an article and now the formatting is jacked up, and in some cases the formatting throughout the rest of the blogsite is also affected.
The most common issues are challenges with font styles, sizes, bolding, italics and underlining. Other challenges include indenting, bulleting and numbering and total sidebar destruction.
Here's why there is a problem:
Microsoft Word is a desktop publishing tool, intended for standard, offline word processing.
Microsoft Word is best used for items intended for printing or sharing offline: essays, business cards, menus, etc.
The proprietary code that Microsoft has written for their word processing program IS NOT HTML.
Below is an example of what their code can look like versus the more 'raw' version if it were written in HTML.
Raw HTML works so efficiently with blogs because they are built using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) that 'govern' the look and feel of the text formatting and styling.
The font style, weight and size are all predefined in the code. This alleviates inconsistencies and allows for a uniform look among blog articles and pages that are published to the site. One does not have to worry about choosing font style, color, or even size; it is done automatically.
MS Word does not mix well with the CSS structure in blogs and can actually override the code, creating havoc throughout the rest of your site, not just the article you posted.
A common example we see is when someone has posted an article using MS Word, and every other article on the site suddenly carries a formatting of bold, italic or underline. Not good.
Another interesting angle to consider is how detrimental MS Word can be to your Web 2.0 applications.
One of the most important recent shifts in the internet is the ability to separate the content from the style on a webpage. A single article’s content can automatically be distributed and published in a multitude of different forms. This is akin to having your article’s content published in separate newspapers, magazines and book styles, where the formating is unique in each example: different structure, font, and spacing in each.
This is one of the beautiful aspects of Web 2.0. You can instantly broadcast your article/feed to hundreds of different websites who can carry your article while keeping intact their own unique look and feel.
Herein lies the conflict with Microsoft Word. Desktop publishing applications style your content within the message. You will notice <font> tags and <span style=""> tags and the forsaken ‘class=MsoNormal’. All of these elements, when put into your blog, have serious repercussions beyond those mentioned above. Each time that unorthodox code is distributed/picked up from your feed, it is going to continue to deliver its chaotic formatting into the recipient’s own unique layout. Not good.
We know it is difficult to break old habits, especially ones that seem so useful, however it is important to realize the maleffects that using MS Word can have on your blog and your marketing message. The three alternatives we recommend (and use) for blog publishing are Google Docs, BlogJet and Ecto.
(Update 9/9/09 : Recent versions of Wordpress allow for eliminating these types of formating issues caused by Microsoft Word)
The blogger’s notebook. A great, online, free, word processing application that makes for the ideal ‘scratch pad’ when developing content for your blog or website.
All of our articles are polished and published in BlogJet. The ease of use and robust publishing features make the $40 price tag worth it.
Blog publishing for both Apple and Windows, however the Apple version is far superior. Oh, and it’s half the price of BlogJet.
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